Websites are complicated creatures, but with the right approach, they can become an irreplaceable asset to any company. Here are the 7 top tips to ensure the success of your new website build, for businesses and web designers alike.
This article is also available in a video format on our YouTube channel. Our founder, Tomasz Lisiecki, describes the seven most important things that will make your next business website a success.
For your convenience, we have summarised the video in the article below. It’s nearly a transcript, so you’re getting full value whether you prefer reading or listening.
First things first, it’s branding. This is not necessarily the first thing that comes to your mind when you want a website – but branding is the first thing that people engage with.
It’s not an interactive aspect, unlike a website, but it’s the image of your company and everything it stands for. Before people visit your website, they most likely encounter your branding image – your logo, your tagline, your vision, etc. It’s really important to have proper branding done before you build a website.
If you’re not happy with your branding (or don’t have a comprehensive one – more on that below), get a branding agency involved and deal with it first, before you hire a web agency to build a website.
Please note that branding is much, much more comprehensive than a colour palette and a logo. It’s the typography, brand identity, tone of voice, assets such as photographs and icons, and much more.
Content-first approach, please! Write understandable, relevant content that answers any objections of your customers and removes any doubt in their head about your services or products.
Content tells your story. And as with branding, it’s much more than you think. It’s not just the text, but also multimedia – even static images and iconography. Together, they create an immersive experience that people will engage with. If you fail with your content, pretty much everything else will fail – and we don’t want that.
Here are a couple of articles that will help you optimise your story for the digital world.
This is an aspect you have to address when preparing your content. If you have a goal on the horizon, you know the direction you’re going to. This makes it much easier for everyone. If you know where you’re going, you can work on your content, branding and your website in a way that gets you closer to your goal.
Without a goal, how are you supposed to produce anything meaningful? How do you plan to attract interest among your visitors? If you don’t understand your own message and mission, you can’t expect anyone else to understand it.
We’ve found that many people who think about building a new website don’t consider where it fits within their organisation. As an example, you might have a marketing strategy in place for the next six months. Take it into consideration so that your website can support your marketers.
Your website needs to work with that strategy to maximise the return on investment. Consider who is using your website. And we don’t mean the visitors, they obviously will – but look elsewhere, from the administration side of things.
What does your team need from the website?
What do they need to edit?
How often do they add things?
What about the scalability?
You need to think about all of this to choose a platform that works for your business; you need to have a set of permissions for various users; you need a good data structure. There’s plenty of questions that need to be answered before we write the first line of code, or before we even consider design requirements.
User test the entire thing. The entire thing. If you’ve had the chance to watch the webinar about how we build websites, you will know how important it is. And if you didn’t, here’s the key takeaway – we always start with building a quick, high-level prototype just so we can validate our ideas and assumptions. Trust us, you will want people to use the prototype to validate these ideas.
You might think something will work, that it will be good for your audience or your team – but you’ll often find that it’s not. It might need improvements because you’ve missed something, but sometimes you just need to scrap it altogether. It’s impossible to know unless you ask your target audience.
Get your team together in a room, ask them about their needs, requirements and ideas. Then have the prototype built and tested with your team or the target audience.
Test it all. Test the heck out of it. That investment will pay off in the future.
Another thing that people discard is their old website. We think it’s a well of knowledge. Don’t discard the whole thing just because it didn’t meet your expectations.
If you have any analytic tools installed on your website, there’s are so many lessons you can take away from the raw data of your Google Analytics, Hotjar, Crazy Egg or any other tools you might be using.
Have a look where people drop off. Check where they enter your website and where do they come from. Filter the most popular landing pages and see how you can improve them. Ask questions, try to find the answers in the data and apply the newfound knowledge to improve the new site.
Please note that using analytics is nothing like “crunching numbers”. We’re sure you have at least one person on the team that could handle the basics. If not, ask for help elsewhere. But try it yourself first – it’s really fun to step into your visitors’ heads for a second and getting to know their habits, preferences and their behaviour.
There’s one other thing you can do – even if you’re not planning to build a new website just yet. Ask your current visitors if they find something unclear. One of the most popular and effective questions we like to use is “what stopped you from buying today”.
There are many, many questions that you can ask to get a meaningful answer. But what’s more important is how you do it. You can use Hotjar, VWO, Optimizely or any other survey tool. You’ll have a little survey popup on specific pages where you can ask a quick question, or request an open-ended answer.
In some cases, you can get a list of customers that abandoned their carts and send them an email asking “hey, what stopped you from buying?”
We did it for our customers and you’d be surprised about some answers. Sometimes people simply get distracted and forget about it. There’s nothing you did wrong there, but you could do something better and have a system in place that reminds them about the items left in the cart.
Our client didn’t have that system in place, and they wouldn’t know if we didn’t ask about it. And that’s all that matters – just talking to people, because websites are for people. Every single person has different habits, needs and preferences. They use the Internet and consume your content in a different from how you do it and you can only find it out if you talk to them.
When you build a website, build it for people. That will cause this ripple effect that will span across everything in your organisation. That’s what we want – we want your website to be the marketing hub of your business. Especially if your company relies heavily on bringing leads and sales through the site.
There are companies that use a website as this “side” thing. They don’t rely on it, but they say “these days you have to be online” or that it’s their digital business card.
In a way, we understand that, but maybe the reason for that thinking is that the website was never tested? Maybe it was never tested with real users and is built on intuition, on what marketers and business owners think their customers need, when in fact it’s something completely different. Just food for thought.
Originally published Jan 12, 2021 12:42:21 PM, updated January 12 2021.